Xinyu Tao She had to work harder than the average student during her two years at NAU.
Tao is an international student from Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang, China and enrolled in the 1+2+1 NAU exchange program in place with several universities. She attended her first year in Jiangsu, then studied at NAU for two years, and will now finish her undergraduate program after another year at her local university, earning two degrees, one from each school.
Desiring to advance herself academically and socially, Tao chose to study abroad and specialize in English to improve her language skills and better understand the culture by learning in an English-speaking country. After reading about the dynamic community and educational opportunities that NAU offers, I knew this was the American university for her.
“When I look back at my two-year studies at NAU, I’m sure this is one of the best decisions I’ve made,” she said.
The biggest challenge I faced at NAU was learning a language that I was not proficient in. However, Tao worked on improving her language skills on her own so that it wouldn’t get in the way.
“Reading, writing and speaking a second language is not that easy. I was very anxious at first because I didn’t want to get my year stuck in a situation where I couldn’t understand what other people said and the books. I stayed up late reading texts over and over for the first month to overcome the language barrier. When Looking back on my time at NAU, I am proud of the efforts and achievements I have made.”
Tao knew the importance of communicating with professors, and this helped her in many ways. Nancy BarronAn English teacher, Tao helped develop her interest in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which led to her acceptance into the United Nations Spotlight Training Program. Barron’s guidance has allowed Tao to improve her presentation skills both in the classroom and in the UN programme, and she is now confident in public speaking in English. Karen Renner, Associate Professor of English, also assisted Tao throughout her time at NAU. Renner provided detailed notes to help reinforce her writing and to create an inclusive environment in the classroom to make all students feel welcome and comfortable.
As she was preparing to graduate from NAU, Tao gave some parting advice to all incoming students: Find your true passion, manage your time and plan ahead.
“Time management can help you feel less stressed when you meet many deadlines,” Tao said. “You also need to take the time to find your passion and master the skills you need to pursue your passion. Students should not limit themselves to their area of specialization only and should consider all future possibilities.”
After graduating from NAU, Tao will return to Jiangsu University to finish her second degree. Planning to return to the United States for a master’s degree.
Maddie Bloner | NAU . Communications